Tue, Apr 23, 2013 - Page 19 News List

McDowell defeats Simpson in playoff to win tournament

AFP, HILTON HEAD, South Carolina

Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell defeated Webb Simpson at the first hole of a sudden-death playoff on Sunday to win the US PGA Tour’s Heritage tournament.

McDowell, the 2010 US Open champion, defeated the reigning US Open title holder Simpson with a par at the first playoff hole.

McDowell had fired an impressive two-under par 69 at wind-swept Harbour Town Golf Links, marred only by a bogey at the final hole that left him on nine-under 275.

He was joined there by Simpson, who carded an even-par 71 that included three birdies and three bogeys to force the playoff.

England’s Luke Donald also posted a 69 to share third place with American Kevin Streelman, who carded a 72 for seven-under 277.

Overnight leader Charley Hoffman struggled in the windy weather and his six-over 77 saw him fall into a tie for sixth place on five-under 279.

McDowell notched his first US PGA Tour of the season.

When they returned to the 18th for the playoff, McDowell shrugged off his regulation bogey at the hole and landed his approach shot about 15 feet from the pin, and then two-putted for par.

Simpson, who missed the green, nearly holed his next shot with his putter from the green, only to see it caught by the wind and roll six feet past.

After McDowell had safely parred, Simpson missed his par attempt coming back.

McDowell thought the wind was a factor in Simpson’s miss.

“I’m disappointed for Webb,” he said. “He hit a great putt up there on this playoff hole — he got a terrific gust of wind.”

However, McDowell was pleased with his first PGA Tour win of the season — a first for a European on the US circuit this year.

“I played nicely all week,” he said. “I played great Friday. The putter was cold most of the week and I really got it going today.”

McDowell briefly took the lead after a birdie at 16. However, at the final hole of regulation, his 13-foot putt for par stopped inches from the cup and he tapped in for a bogey.

Meanwhile, Simpson followed a birdie at the 12th with six straight pars.

He did have a chance for the victory with a 22-foot birdie putt at the last hole of regulation, but it missed left.

“You’re never out of this tournament,” McDowell said. “You just have to hang around and hang around, and I did that.”

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